Long-serving Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused the US last week of seeking regime change against the ruling Awami League (AL), which has historically competed for leadership of the country with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Since returning to office in 2009, she oversaw a massive economic boom but has also been criticized for supposedly centralizing her power, oppressing the opposition, and allegedly defrauding the vote according to some activists and the US Government.
Nevertheless, the US continued cultivating increasingly close ties with Bangladesh under Hasina’s tenure due to its growing role as a global textile hub and its geostrategic position in the Bay of Bengal. The latter, it’s responsible for China and India fiercely competing for influence there as part of their rapidly intensifying rivalry across the Asia/Indo-Pacific. Bangladesh has thus far balanced those three and Russia pretty well, but everything could become undone in the event that her country is destabilized.
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An Unprecedented Warning
That scenario was touched upon in general terms in this analysis here from earlier in the month but will now be elaborated upon much more in the present piece in light of Hasina’s recent accusation that the US is seeking regime change against the AL. She told parliament last Monday that “They are trying to eliminate democracy and introduce a government that will not have a democratic existence. It’ll be an undemocratic action.”
Hasina then added that “They can overthrow the government of any country. In particular, Muslim countries are going through tough situations.” Her rings ring true too since that’s precisely what the US is out to do nowadays as part of its crusade to force all countries into either taking its side in the New Cold War or risk becoming the next target of its multidimensional pressure campaigns. Bangladesh is back on America’s radar because of the worsening Sino-Indo rivalry and the continued Myanmar Conflict.
The first-mentioned was already touched upon in this piece, with a detailed analysis hyperlinked to for intrepid readers to review if they’re interested, while the second was addressed a few days ago here. The US-led West’s Mainstream Media (MSM) is maximally manipulating perceptions about that conflict after last week’s deadly airstrike against rebel forces, which are designated as terrorists by the government, ahead of neighboring Thailand’s elections next month.
That upcoming event could see the return to power of the US’ political proxies or at least a renewed Color Revolution attempt against that country’s Chinese-friendly government, both scenarios of which could create space for the West to expand its arms-running campaign that’s being run out of there to Myanmar. Against the regional backdrop of the rapidly intensifying Sino-Indo rivalry, this could seriously destabilize the Bay of Bengal, especially if it coincides with a regime change attempt in Bangladesh.
Returning back to Hasina’s recent warning that inspired this analysis, the US is plotting against her as part of its so-called “controlled chaos” strategy, which in this context seeks to catalyze a series of cascading crises along the Bay of Bengal in order to worsen the Sino-Indo rivalry there. The coordinated destabilization campaigns against Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand could also create opportunities for more Western meddling too, thus making it strategically advantageous from the US’ perspective.
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The Bangladeshi dimension of this regional Hybrid War plot could include the non-kinetic provocations of information warfare smearing Hasina’s government as well as more sanctions against members thereof, which might be paired with the interconnected kinetic provocations that’ll now be detailed. As is typical in these scenarios, a combination of Color Revolution and Unconventional Warfare (insurgency/rebel/terrorist) pressure will likely be applied in the coming future.
“Weapons Of Mass Migration”
Bangladesh isn’t any stranger to these forms of destabilization and has gone to great lengths to strengthen its “Democratic Security” (counter-Hybrid Warfare tactics and strategies) over the past decade in order to preemptively avert them and effectively respond if the former can’t be achieved. Even so, the Damocles’ sword of the US employing what Ivy League researcher Kelly M. Greenhill previously described as “Weapons of Mass Migration” (WMM) might ultimately be the game-changing wild card.
Her research proved that migration processes aren’t always organic but have been regularly manipulated by various forces since World War II on at least the several dozen occasions that she’s closely covered in her work. Bangladesh is especially vulnerable to the weaponization of these processes since they can lead to tensions with neighboring India and Myanmar, the first of which is for all intents and purposes its ally while the latter is regarded as unfriendly due to the Rohingya issue.
Potential “NGO” Plots
“NGOs”, including those that function as foreign intelligence fronts, could seek to encourage more illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India while those Western-affiliated terrorist sleeper cells among the Rohingya that poured into Bangladesh from Myanmar could provoke an interstate conflict. The former is super sensitive due to the concerns of those local communities in India that they migrate to, not to mention if there’s a lethal incident at the border as Indian officials try to apprehend illegal crossers.
The optics of those two scenarios can easily be exploited to artificially manufacture an international crisis like has been attempted in the past, which can also be taken advantage of to provoke members of the BNP into rioting against the government as part of an incipient Color Revolution. Furthermore, political and religious extremists could try to “justify” any renewed terrorist campaigns in either of those countries on that pretext.
Weaponizing The Rohingya Issue
The Myanmarese dimension of this WMM-driven Hybrid War scenario doesn’t need to be expanded upon at the length that the Indian one was since the public is aware of the Rohingya issue, but they’d do well to be reminded that terrorist sleeper cells can be awaken at any time. Upon that happening, they could either attack their host state and/or country of origin, either provocation of which could risk more WMMs, MSM and sanctions pressure, as well as spike the chance of an interstate conflict.
What differentiates Bangladesh from Myanmar and Thailand in terms of this Bzezinski-esque “Arc of Crisis” that the US is scheming to create is that its destabilization could spill over into India’s “Seven Sisters”, which are in close proximity to where it’s engaged in a tense standoff with China. Infamous Color Revolution financier George Soros already de facto declared Hybrid War on India in mid-February after the BBC’s airing of a provocative “documentary”, thus proving that it’s in the West’s crosshairs.
If one adds Sri Lanka into the mix by dint of its financial instability making it extremely vulnerable to US subversion, then it’s clear that the Bay of Bengal has suddenly become one of the New Cold War’s top battlegrounds, which makes sense due to its geostrategic location in the center of the Asia/Indo-Pacific. All responsible stakeholders will thus have to do their utmost to prevent the region’s instability in the face of the US’ newfound Hybrid War threats, which will certainly be a challenge for some of them.
Bangladesh deserves as much support as possible from its partners since its important location and massive population mean that its potential destabilization amidst any impending American regime changes provocation there could be disproportionately consequential for the region. Whatever grievances the BNP has with the AL must urgently be put aside in order for them not to end up playing the role of the US’ “useful idiots” by initiating any unrest that could set this sequence of events into motion.
Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst, radio host, and regular contributor to several online outlets. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia. The article has been republished and the views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.